The battle for votes in Calgary Currie is heating up as Liberal candidate Dave Taylor and Conservative Jon Lord are head to head just a few days before the provincial election.
The Calgary Currie provincial riding has two very distinct features.
First, it is home to Mount Royal College, which means that it is a hot spot for the post-secondary funding debate — a topic of interest in the current election races.
Second, it could be the riding that sends a Liberal from Calgary to the legislature in Edmonton.
Conservative Jon Lord is in a tight race with Liberal Dave Taylor and it could be said that this is possibly the only close contest in the city. What is it that is getting people to take so well to Taylor?
“I’ve been doing a lot of door knocking,” said Taylor, a radiohost on QR77.
“I’ve probably been to anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the doors in Currie.”
Taylor is hoping he is showing people what makes him the right choice instead of Lord.
“Jon Lord has been the invisible man around here over the last couple of years,” Taylor said.
This has led to what Taylor describes as pockets of voter apathy he has found among a lot of young people in the area. Taylor’s main issue with the Conservatives is the leadership.
“The things I hear about are that people are tired of Klein’s act, his arrogance, his schtick,” Taylor said. “People are somewhat embarrassed.”
With the high population of students in the area, as well as the college itself, education is the Number 1 issue.
Robert Scobel and the New Democrats, meanwhile, are focusing their education platform on making learning more accessible.
“Education should be accessible to everyone all the time, not just at election time,” said Marlene Yanchula, campaign manager for Scobel.
Calgary has been the example in Alberta for low post secondary funding. The University of Calgary was at the bottom of MacLean’s annual universities ranking, and both the university and the college have been raising tuition costs while cutting program budgets.
“Calgary is the biggest city in North America with one university,” Taylor said. “It has 7,400 fewer degree spaces than Edmonton.”
Both the Liberals and the NDs agree on the fact that education needs more funding, something that Albertans can certainly agree with. It was the second highest rated issue, after health care, on the “It’s Your Future” survey conducted by the Alberta government.
Jon Lord and the Progressive Conservatives haven’t proposed any concrete plans for education, but they conducted the survey to determine how the budget, and Alberta’s future surpluses, would be spent. It can be inferred that there would be more money put into education.
The Liberals’ plan is to create an endowment fund for education that would take 35 per cent of all surpluses and put that money directly into a fund for post secondary education. The money would then be used to increase funding and support more universities. They feel it would create the best education system in Canada.
The Green Party says the issue of transportation is very important in Calgary. Kim Warnke is running for the Green Party in Calgary Currie and hopes to see more mass transit put in place around the Currie area.
Taylor feels that the issue of traffic might be a municipal issue but the province can help a lot. “The province has the ability to fund major projects and pass the money down so that streets and roads can be improved,” Taylor said.
Despite the close race, Taylor is encouraging all voters to get to the polls on Nov. 22.
“It is important to vote no matter how you vote,” Taylor said.